York Regional Police have now charged eight people in connection to a probe which led to the seizure of thousands of counterfeit luxury items from a mall in Markham, Ontario. The year-long investigation first began back in April 2018 after police received several complaints about the selling of fake designer goods out of the mall. In June 2018, police conducted a Pacific Mall raid and finally laid charges almost a full year later.
According to a YRP news release, eight people have been arrested in connection to the investigation. Those charged include Jing Sun, 55, of Markham; Siwen Sun, 29, of Markham; Dan Chen, 34, of Aurora, Ontario; Xie Min Wu, 55, Yue Qin, 29, of Ajax, Ontario, Yi Long, 31 and 39-year-old Jie Ni Lai of Toronto.
All eight individuals face charges of selling or offering for sale of distributing on a commercial scale any goods associated with a trademark. They have also been charged for knowingly making a representation to the public that is false or misleading in a material aspect.
According to the Canadian Criminal Code, the maximum sentence in Canada for being convicted of false or misleading representations is a fine of up to $200,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year on summary conviction, or up to 14 years upon indictment. The maximum sentence for selling or offering for sale or distributing on a commercial scale any goods associated with a trademark on indictment charges is a fine of $1,000,000 or five years in prison.
Xiaoting Du, 32, of Markham, faces the same offences as the others along with a separate third charge of possessing the proceeds of crime. The maximum penalty for possessing the proceeds of crime in Canada is ten years in prison if over $5,000 and two years if under that amount.
The raid at Pacific Mall was conducted by police on June 27th, 2018. Officers took over the shopping centre, rifled through stores and seized boxes of items from various businesses. They even cordoned off sections of the mall with police tape.
During the raid, a group of over 30 police officers executed search warrants at seven business within the shopping centre. The items included cellphones accessories, clothing, and handbags. Investigations also searched the business owners’ home, where they seized more merchandise and cash.
Following the raids, police contacted representatives at several luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Adidas, and Givenchy. According to CTV, the companies were able to confirm that most of the seized goods were indeed fake.
York Regional Police investigators did not conduct their investigation alone. Canadian Border Services Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the New York Police Department also aided in the arrest of the suspects.
Anyone with any further information about the case is being asked to reach to the Financial Crimes Unit at 1-866-876-5423.